André de Ruyter, the Chief Executive Officer of South Africa’s state-owned electricity distribution firm, Eskom, is currently being investigated for racism. But he will not be stepping down to pave way for the investigation, he said.
Speaking at Megawatt Park, the company’s Gauteng-based headquarters, Mr Ruyter said he will cooperate with investors, but will not condone corruption.
“Racism and sexism have absolutely no place at Eskom, so that is a categorical statement that my management team and I fully support. Equally, we cannot accept under-performance and we cannot accept corruption,” André de Ruyter was quoted to have said.
The embattled CEO faced backlash after he was accused of sidelining black suppliers. In reaction to the allegation, the company’s Board of Directors released a lengthy statement which read in parts: “The allegation not only brings Eskom into disrepute, but it also threatens to detract and distract the focus of the executive team and the group chief executive in particular from their critical job of restoring Eskom to operational and financial sustainability.
“In the event anyone has any reason to feel aggrieved because of racist or sexist behaviour, this must be raised by using the well-established internal grievance processes, which will ensure that such allegations are properly investigated, and if found to be warranted, will result in disciplinary action in accordance with labour law, against the perpetrator of such unacceptable behaviour.
“The board is aware of, and grateful to the majority of Eskom employees who work hard in fulfilling their duties, which are of national importance in providing reliable and affordable electricity to South Africa. The board is committed to transparency and will provide updates at critical stages of the investigation.”
The investigations are currently being conducted both internally and by the South African Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
In the meantime, Eskom has been focusing on recovering its operational performance. Yesterday, both the CEO and Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer, addressed various stakeholders in Johannesburg during what was tagged State of the System Briefing. According to them, efforts have been made in terms of high-level maintenance works, in line with the the company’s Generation Recovery Programme (9-Point Plan) and Reliability Maintenance Recovery (RMR).
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) March 15, 2021
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